churchill

Blizzard Footage, Churchill, Manitoba

Hey guys, check out some footage I shot with my canon 7d of a severe blizzard that pounded Churchill in November, 2013.  The tempetaure was around 5 degrees far, and the winds gusted over 50 mph.  The polar bears were difficult to locate that day, as the visibility was reduced to near 0 at times in blowing and drifting snow, but we did find a few large males who seemed to enjoy themselves.  They spent half an hour sparring, as they werent as limited by overheating, as they normally in milder weather.  I filmed these guys with my 300 prime f4. The end of the video shows us driving back to town in a whiteout on the airport road.  It was pretty rough that day!

polar bear vs blizzard, churchill, manitoba, brad josephs

It was tough to find bears with such reduced visibility, but the ones we did find were great to photograph in such brutal, atmospheric conditions.

Raven’s Eye View of the North, Churchill Helicopter Expedition

polar bear helicopter trip, churchill manitoba Larry Hoelzeman scans the boreal forest for moose and polar bears from a helicopter over Wapusk National Park, and Cape Churchill. 

I recently finished guiding my first Ultimate Churchill Expedition, which includes a helicopter excursion to view polar bears, moose, and the subarctic landscape from a raven’s perspective. Here are some unique images that I was able to capture. First, check some footage I shot with my canon 7D and 16-35f2.8

aerial photography, churchill, polar bears

As we cruised over Cape Churchill we came upon a group of very large males hanging out together peacefully. Two of the bears had blood on their heads and necks, indicating that they had recently fed on a seal.

I had previously thought that photographing from a helicopter would be difficult, but I was pleasantly surprised to learn that we could shoot out of an open window. Photographing with my 16-35 wide angle was very easy, and perfect for getting the wide landscape shots, but I was also able to get some good stuff of wildlife with my fixed 300 f4.

Wide angle view of the tundra s we headed north to Cape Churchill. Canon 7D, 16-35mm lens.

We counted a total of 28 different moose from the air in the boreal forest of Wapusk National Park, about 4 miles south of the coast. This is a very large bull in rut.  Canon 7d, 300 f4 prime lens

View of a lone male polar bear on the beach near Cape Churchill.
Canon 7D 300 f4 prime

A huge highlight for the group was landing at an unattended female polar bear maternity den above the Deer River. This region of boreal forest in Wapusk National Park is the densest polar bear denning area on earth. Only the pregnant female polar bears use dens like this, so they can have their cubs in a warm, safe environment. Pregnant females will arrive in this area in November to choose a den site, as the other bears head onto Hudson Bay to hunt seals for the winter. Cubs are born around the New Year.

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Polar Bear Fight Club

Well it is that time of year again.  I am heading up to Winnipeg, Manitoba to begin another awesome season of polar bear viewing expeditions in Churchill, Manitoba.  I recently edited and posted some of my best polar bear footage to date onto my Youtube Channel (which has over 8 million video views to date!).  This past spring I sold most of this footage to several wildlife documentaries which will air on Animal Planet and Discovery this fall and winter.  Want a sneak peek?  Here you go: 

If you want to read more about “sparring polar bears” check this blog post I did a while back by clicking here.  Otherwise, I will hopefully see you in Churchill sometime where you can view this amazing behavior firsthand! Also check out my recent post about viewing brown bear fights that are very serious and impressive by CLICKING HERE.

North to the future!

The polar bears of Churchill are famous for the play fighting that males take part in during October and November while they wait for the ice to freeze. They are practicing for the real thing in March, when they fight, sometimes to the death, for available estrus females.